The Markham arboretum in glorious Spring colors

What a difference a few storms made at the Markham arboretum, now wearing its vibrant Spring blues, greens and reds from blade of grass to treetop. The Galindo Creek meandering through the gardens remains a few feet at its deepest, hummingbirds have begun their courtships, but the countdown to summer has already begun.

Markham Arboretum
Markham Arboretum

The following photos were all taken yesterday during the course of a single walk through, taking advantage of the blooms we waited months to see. There were over twenty of them, so we decided to arrange them in a slide show for convenience. Below, that, you’ll find a short video of Anna’s hummingbirds courting.


The female hummingbird perched at the very top of a tree, is being buzzed by a male. The chirping sound you hear as he passes by is made by fanning out his tail feathers.


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Caturday: Spring has sprung

Caturday finds us enjoying Spring, but missing the rains already. I really wasn’t ready for this much sunshine. I don’t know if we’ll get any more rain this season or not. Sadly, we didn’t get enough. California is in better shape than it was, but it’s still parched in places.

With the Spring come the birdies and the pointy eared people are thrilled. They spend hours on the back of the couch and dinette watching them. There’s an oleander shrub right outside one of the windows and it fills up with birds every morning and evening. It’s better than television.

Tito watching the Spring birdies
Tito watching the Spring birdies
Miss Jenny also watching those Spring birdies
Miss Jenny also watching those Spring birdies
I can haz hotdog?
I can haz hotdog?

As for Titanescu… He wasn’t watching birdies. He was dreaming of water and a diving competition.

Titanescu perfecting his pike position
Titanescu perfecting his pike position

Speaking of water, Lastech took some nice pics at the canal the other day.

March duck

March canal

March twigs


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Caturday: Ode to The Pootie Queen

I’ve heard that online friendships just aren’t real and all kinds of other malarkey. Lastech was an online friend and we’ve been married for twelve years as of today. Our anniversary aside, I lost a friend on March 5th. I found Tricia at a political website. As everyone knows, politics can be vicious. She had a love of cats and she posted what came to be called “The Pootie Diaries”. “Pootie” was the name of someone’s kitty. The name stuck and Tricia became known as The Pootie Queen. Her posts were a safe haven from the political fights. The fights had to be left outside. Inside was a mass of Cheezburger posts and pictures of pets posted in the comments. The posts weren’t limited to cats and included any and all animals. That safe haven provided people with a place to share the joys of their pets and to also share their grief on losing them. When we lost The Boober to lymphoma she did a memorial post for him. She did the same when we lost Kitsy. Her funeral is today, so we are dedicating our Caturday post to The Pootie Queen. I’m sure she was greeted by a throng of critters at the Rainbow Bridge. Orange flowers were her favorites. Rest in peace my friend.

She loved orange flowers. For Tricia Wyse Lefevre September 8th, 1970 - March 5th ,2016
Tricia Wyse Lefevre September 8th, 1970 – March 5th ,2016

As for our anniversary, we celebrated that on Lastech’s day off (Wednesday) We relaxed and grilled some good food and had a glass of champagne. It was good.

Titanescu basking in a sunbeam
Titanescu basking in a sunbeam
Miss Jenny: help!
Miss Jenny: help!
Poor Tito looking nervous
Poor Tito looking nervous
Pepi hoping to hoover something good from the grill.
Pepi hoping to hoover something good from the grill.


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Caturday: Return of the pointy-eared people

The pointy-eared people have been gazing out the window wondering if we’re going to need a boat. It has been raining off and on for days. There’s a new storm headed this way as I type. None of us are complaining. California needs the rain desperately and the kitties can watch from inside where it’s warm and dry. Pepi doesn’t care about the rain. She’s happy to walk in it and so am I.

Before I get to our kitties, I want to give an update on Renfield. We mentioned his ataxia in a prior post.

To quote his housemate Nofur:

Went to town to start Captain Darling’s allergy shots today, and then we went shopping for some fresh “crinkle balls” for Renfield! He is still improving and started running today. Which is a bad idea with the occasional falling over, but Renfield is unstoppable. He is still smart enough to use the chair to get on the bed & countertops though.

YES! He’s getting better. We are so happy to see this news. I’m sure he’ll be catching those sky raisins (flies) again soon.

Here is Renfield wearing his black turtleneck and shopping for crinkle balls.
Here is Renfield wearing his black turtleneck and shopping for crinkle balls.

And now, back to our pointy eared people

Tito has the prettiest green eyes
Tito has the prettiest green eyes
Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny
Even Titan managed to pose without giving us the stinkeye
Even Titan managed to pose without giving us the stinkeye

Here is the little stinker who had us in a state of near panic last week.

No mom, I'm NOT chewing the blanket.
No mom, I’m NOT chewing the blanket.

This is what put her in the ER. It was raining that night and very dark out. I didn’t find it for a day or two. She had hoarked it up at home, but it had already set of the chain of events that led to the veterinary ER.

a Pepi blanket

And now for a unique musical video. I love things like this.


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Caturday: Gone to the dog

No matter how much you watch them, if your dog is the type to eat anything, you may be in for the occasional rough night. Pepita’s a hoover-dog, meaning she’ll ingest virtually anything, given the chance, and a couple days ago now, she ate a piece of blanket she’d torn off. This was bad news. That piece of cloth created a gastric obstruction, which she tried to dislodge as dogs do, by eating grass and drinking lots of water. She managed to hoark up the cloth, but was still in distress.

The grass she ate went nowhere and sat in her gut, compacting in her stomach. We hauled her to the local emergency vet clinic, where she stayed well into the next day. Now as some of you know, Rudha-an is a great dog (and cat) mom, with awesome friends who aren’t just supportive but extremely helpful in dire situations The A-team. From actionable advice to offers of financial assistance, these women were a lot of help getting through this patch. Thanks to many people, but especially Rudha-an, Pepi is now recovering at home. The amount of texts, emails and phone calls to individuals and card companies was even more amazing since Rudha-an is recovering slowly from an ear infection triggered by the flu (it has been a trying month and a half for the crew of the Endurance and friends).

Waiting at the vet's office
In the waiting room
Poor Pepi in the exam room looking a bit scared
Poor Pepi in the exam room looking a bit scared
That funky mass at the end of the arrow is her stomach full of grass. The black stuff to the right was gas.
That funky mass at the end of the arrow is her stomach full of grass. The black stuff to the right was gas.
And here is just part of what they removed. No wonder she was in distress
And here is just part of what they removed. No wonder she was in distress

While she was gone overnight, even Titanescu seemed to be looking for Pepi, and Tito came to our bed for comfort.
We spent part of the day waiting at the Markham Arboretum in Concord, walking off some tension, hoping to get Pepi out there again soon, but we weren’t sure how the endoscopy would turn out.

Magnolias
Magnolias
Dark-eyed junco (male)
Dark-eyed junco (male)
Blossoms
Blossoms
Ivy and roots
Ivy and roots
Magnolia
Magnolia
Wild turkey
Wild turkey

Later that afternoon,when the nurse brought her out to come home with us, the look of relief on Pepi’s little worried face and her attempts to leap from the nurse’s arms were worth everything, and we were happy to submit to ten minutes of frantic licking.

Are we REALLY going home?
Are we REALLY going home?
Pepi and her flatulent hedgehog
Pepi and her flatulent hedgehog

This is from yesterday.

The kitties will return next week, provided a piano doesn’t fall out of the sky and land on us.


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Caturday: Pulling for Renfield

We’re sitting around worried about a little nakie named Renfield. He’s a housemate to our friend Nofuratu and came down with sudden onset ataxia, which means he’s dizzy and falling over a lot. His humans took him for testing but they still aren’t certain what the cause is. We’re sending all our healing thoughts and lots of love to Renfield and his family.

Titanescu's message for Renfield: оставаться сильным мало одного
Titanescu’s message for Renfield: оставаться сильным мало одного
Renfield, who's talent is catching the elusive sky raisins (flies). He does try to live up to his name.
Renfield, who’s amazing talent is catching the elusive sky raisins (flies). He does try to live up to his name. Photo used by permission
Miss Jenny sharing a sunbeam with Titanescu
Miss Jenny sharing a sunbeam with Titanescu
Tito contemplating the sunbeam
Tito contemplating the sunbeam
Pepita is happy. We got her a new farty sounding hedgehog toy.
Pepita is happy. We got her a new farty sounding hedgehog toy.

As we wait anxiously for news of Renfield, this Caturday rolls on with Titanescu and his “food rules”. After however many years spent in prison, getting food in certain amounts and at fixed times, old “Iron Beans” enjoys his freedom by laying claim to whatever’s edible inside the Endurance.
Which means the dog’s bowl as of late…
Poor Pepi gives him a wide berth, even as he ambles slowly but purposefully towards her dish. He’ll dig in, look up at her, then us, and dig in again. That old gangster would stare down that wall, Mister Reagan…


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Caturday: OMG! I actually have a Caturday post

Yes, it’s really a Caturday post…on Caturday, no less. 🙂 Maybe things will start to calm down now. As you know, mom fell and broke her hip. She wound up with ICU psychosis which caused a few problems. Then she finally got home from rehab only to wind up right back in the hospital with an evil case of enteritis. She is back home again and doing better. Lastech’s face is much better now, but in the middle of all that we came down with the dreaded mocos (flu). We survived that and Pepi is fully back to normal after her spay.

In the midst of all this excitement, we ran out of Feliway. That meant that Miss Jenny went into hiding. It has been replaced and we managed pics of everyone except Titanescu. His pic is slightly older and may be a repeat, but there’s not much to be done about it. 🙂

Tito posed nicely today
Tito posed nicely today
Miss Jenny in mid yawn
Miss Jenny in mid yawn
Titanescu: Why Dimmy? Why?
Titanescu: Why Dimmy? Why?

Lastech made a little video of the places we’ve been to in our area. The various places are Lime Ridge, The canal walks, the arboretum, and Redwood Regional Park. The cemetary, wetlands, and shoreline are in Martinez.

Pardon the mess of Pepi’s blankets and toys, but here is a cute vid of her and Tito

It’s beginning to look like spring already

a flowers


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Holy crudmosis! At least no one died

Holy crudmosis is the word. Seriously. CRUDMOSIS! dangit! We’ve missed several Caturdays because of the holidays and then life went really goofy on us. Lastech was putting in bunches of overtime and Pepi and I went off to house sit, and then…

In the midst of all that, the crudmosis kicked in. My mom fell and broke her hip. She had gone outside to the porch when she fell down the steps. She landed on the bricks under the roof valley. It was night and it was pouring rain, which meant she was in the path of the heaviest flow off of the roof. It was also very cold and rain was just short of icy. Daddy and a friend rushed to find an umbrella to shelter her until the paramedics showed up. Since they live in the desert and normally get little rain, umbrellas are not a normal household item. While in the hospital, she had surgery, after which she developed a case of delirium. It was more commonly called ICU psychosis in the past, but delirium is the more proper term for it. She finally got past all that and is in rehab. She’s sounding a lot more like her old self.

Just before I went house sitting, Lastech developed a rash on his face. It was getting better by the time I got home again. Then it got worse. A LOT worse. He got home from work on Sunday morning and his face was swelling, so we called the doc. He was in the doc’s office for less than 5 minutes. They walked us straight over to the ER. They kept him until noon on Monday, pushing meds through IV and orally. Between the dermatologist and Lastech, they were able to figure out the cause and treat it, so it’s healing nicely now. Oh and they also put him on meds for diabetes. Holy crudmosis all over again.

Last, but not least. Pepita went in for her spay yesterday. She did fine and will not have to cope with being in heat ever again. Our sanity (and hers) are saved for the moment. Sanity is subject to change at any moment.

While I don’t have any good pics of our beasties at the moment, I did take pics of my friend’s fur babies. 🙂

This is Zsu Zsu. She is modeling her new raincoat. She absolutely hates the rain. What a sweetie.
This is Zsu Zsu. She is modeling her new raincoat. She absolutely hates the rain. What a sweetie.
This is Ranger. Once he got used to me, he turned into a purring, head bonking lover.
This is Ranger. Once he got used to me, he turned into a purring, head bonking lover.
This is Sparkie. She's also a sweetie. She's got long fluffy hair.
This is Sparkie. She’s also a sweetie. She’s got long fluffy hair.
This is Booda. Supposedly, he hates everyone. He and I had quite a discussion about that, as you can see. He was so funny. He would hiss at me and change it to a meow in mid-hiss. He's got magnificent whiskers.
This is Booda. Supposedly, he hates everyone. He and I had quite a discussion about that, as you can see. He was so funny. He would hiss at me and change it to a meow in mid-hiss. He’s got magnificent whiskers.

This song sort of sums up the last couple of weeks.


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Winter rolls on with another birthday

To Julie.

Often enough, we wander into each other’s head, without knocking. One will say out loud something the other is thinking, which, after 15 years is natural.
We do have many references in common, despite our completely different backgrounds,which makes us laugh at the same things and then there’s our “shorthand”, those terms we both adopted after one came up with it, seemingly at random, terms which would have other people scratching their head if we used them in their presence. Our terms.
Rude terms, like “foufoune” (don’t ask)…

But as comfortable as we are walking in and out of each other’s consciousness in slippers, we don’t tend to finish each other’s sentences. In the exact same way that when the world’s stress fractures begin to appear, the other doesn’t try to fix it, it’s the bonding that mends the frayed spots on the fabric of life.


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Mount Diablo: rock of Doom

They say Mount Diablo got its name from a WTF moment in local lore, dating back from the early 19th century. In 1805, a small contingent of Spanish troops encircled a group of Native Americans, who managed to disappear without a trace using their evidently superior knowledge of the land. It’s only natural that the people who brought us the Inquisition decided the Devil was at play, and so they named the place Monte del Diablo, which some translate as Thicket of the Devil. Later, monte was mistakenly translated as mount and thus the mountain gained its current name.

As the crow flies, we now live about five miles or so from Mount Diablo, which makes it a semi-regular destination for us. On weekdays, when most folks are at work, the drive to the top is fairly relaxed and fun. I say fairly relaxed because you still have to pay close attention to other traffic, bicyclists in particular, especially near blind curves. As well, along some stretches, the road drops off abruptly, which causes fearful drivers to wander across the median dangerously.

The fun comes from spotting wildlife and the play of light on distant hills, which offers quite a spectacle on overcast and stormy days. On the drive to the top, there are many spots where to pull over and take in the sights, some with tables, benches and grills, even. From there, it is easy to see how much concealment the terrain offers wildlife or the unfortunate injured hiker at times. As close to “civilization” as Mount Diablo is, and as unimposing its elevation may appear at 3849 feet, the park’s 20.000 acres is deceptively smooth and tranquil. But just as Mount Tamalpais and its potentially treacherous Cascade Falls trail has risks, so does Diablo. And this is due in large part to both traffic and complacency.

Some of the photos in this blog post were taken as a storm system was moving through the area, giving you a sense of the textures the park offers and why it has become one of our favorites. It never fails to remind me of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”…


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